Kingdom Hearts was one of the first RPGs I ever played on my PlayStation 2. I remember thinking it was revolutionary. I was so excited to see a game that lets you visit Disney worlds and interact with those characters. To this day I have replayed it and the other games in the franchise multiple times.
The game manages to capture that classic Disney magic and mix it into a Final Fantasy type world. As Sora, Donald and Goofy search the Disney worlds for Sora’s friends and King Mickey, you get to see worlds like Wonderland, Halloween Town, Agrabah and more.
This game also features some Final Fantasy characters. You don’t need any Final Fantasy knowledge to understand their roles within this game, but it’s just one more thing to be excited about if you do know them. Just like with the Disney characters, it’s amazing to see your favorites from the Final Fantasy franchise here, too.
I think my favorite world in Kingdom Hearts is 100 Acre Woods. I always go straight back to my childhood when I get to help Pooh and his companions out with their problems. It brings back a type of innocence that leaves when you become an adult. I think that’s really the magic of this whole game.
Even when the world is being threatened by the Heartless and Maleficent, Donald and Goofy retain their wonderful personalities and bring so much life and energy into the game. It made me so happy to see that Disney magic unchanged in spite of the game’s story. It also keeps things light-hearted and joyful.
Part of that lightheartedness comes from this game’s soundtrack as well. Every world has its own selection of tracks that help bring that location to life. Some come from Disney titles of course, while others are completely unique to the Kingdom Hearts franchise. This is one of those games, like all Final Fantasy games, where the music can almost tell its own story. That is one aspect that I think Square Enix always does perfectly.
Gameplay here is also another shining moment for this game. You swing your Keyblade to attack and you can use the drop down menu to select magic spells or items to use. Each world features one classic Disney character that you can swap out Donald or Goofy for. I always enjoy fighting alongside classic characters like Aladdin and Tarzan. You also collect keychains for your Keyblade along your journey which change its appearance and stats.
You can also equip yourself and your party with items to use in combat, armor, and new weapons. The weapons, like your Keyblade, are the only things that change in appearance but the armor raises stats. You can also tweek how Donald and Goofy battle and how often they’ll use the items you give them.
I have so much love for this game and the franchise as a whole. It is probably one of my most replayed franchises, and easily one of my favorites. My only real problem with it can be the story at times. As Kingdom Hearts titles progress, the story gets very complicated and games get scattered between multiple platforms.
Luckily, if you’re looking to experience the Kingdom Hearts series for the first time, or replay it like me, the complete collection for PS4 and Xbox One is the best way to do it. It finally brings all of the franchise’s titles to one single collection, and makes you aware of which order you should play them in so you can follow the story.
But man, the story is a handful. I appreciate the depth and heart that was put into it, but sometimes it feels way too complicated and doesn’t quite fit the magical carefree atmosphere of the game. However, when I finally did grasp every aspect of the story, it really made me fall in love with this series more. It reminds me of a long TV show’s storyline, one that you need to actively follow and at times, even research.
Despite the story’s headache though, it’s a wonderful franchise with a ton of love and magic. As with anything involving Disney, this franchise always embodies that passion for it’s characters and worlds. Kingdom Hearts 2 remains my favorite within the franchise, but I’m excited to see where Square Enix takes it.
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